Meetings are boring. They're necessary. They're sometimes frustrating, sometimes delightful. Sometimes they're wastes of time, other times they're the most important thing we could've done with the time. There are many traits of meetings, but there's a big one we don't think about often enough: Meetings are expensive.
Look at the standing (recurring) meetings on your calendar. Take a quick guess at the hourly rate for every attendee. It doesn't matter if you actually know their salary or not...just the act of taking a few minutes to look at the total cost per meeting is eye-opening. Now do me a favor and multiply that by 42. This tells us the total cost of that meeting to your company for an entire year (I'm assuming 10 or so weeks where the meeting is cancelled for one reason or another).
Here's the critical question I want all of us to ask ourselves: Now that we know how much we're spending, do we feel confident that we're getting a positive ROI from this meeting? If so, great! If not, why not?
You may think the meeting is necessary because you need to get people aligned or you need to get updated on what folks are working on, and maybe you're right. I don't automatically assume all meetings have a negative ROI, but I do think if we were more intentional about measuring the financial impact, we'd structure them differently. In the case of alignment, I've found much of the meeting time is spent getting people up to speed instead of working through differences in perspective. In the case of status updates, I have yet to hear a status update that didn't feel like it could've been just as effective as a Slack message or an email.
The point I'm trying to make is this: If we look at our meetings through the lens of ROI, we can probably think of ways to design better meetings.